Croatian Serbs held for war crimes

2010-11-12 17:00

Zagreb - Police said on Friday they have arrested five Croatian Serb war crimes suspects for their alleged involvement in an ambush in which a dozen policemen were killed in early stages of Croatia's 1991-1995 war.

The five, at the time members of Croatian Serb paramilitary units, are accused of organising an ambush in May 1991 in the village Borovo, near the eastern town Vukovar, in which twelve Croatian policemen had been killed, Hina news agency quoted police official Krunoslav Borovec as saying.

The killing was one of the first episodes to have attracted widespread coverage during the four-year conflict in this former Yugoslav republic during which some 20 000 people were killed.

The 12 victims were members of a Croatian special police unit which was heading towards Borovo to free two of their colleagues, arrested a day before the ambush by a Serb paramilitary patrol, Hina said.

In 1993, Croatian justice sentenced 10 other suspects for organising the ambush to 20 years in prison in absentia.

Croatia's proclamation of independence from the former Yugoslavia sparked the four-year war with rebel Serbs who opposed the move.

During the war the Belgrade regime politically and militarily backed the rebels, who occupied one-third of Croatia's territory.